New Food Allergen Regulations

Posted 8 September 2014
Written by Lisa Jacobs
Food Information Regulations 2013

On 13 December 2014 the significant parts of the Food Information Regulations 2013 come into force.

The new Regulations apply to all food businesses at all stages of the food chain.

The underlying principle of the Regulations is that food business operators provide safe food which is honestly described and presented.

The major change that the Regulations will bring affects caterers and those businesses selling food loose or sold directly to the consumer by the person packing the food and relates specifically to:

The Regulations list 14 allergens and should a food product, menu dish or food accompaniments contain any of the allergens, then the consumer must be suitably advised before they consume the food.

Allergen information will need to be displayed:
  • On labels
  • On the shelf edge where displayed for sale
  • In menus
Where information cannot be suitably displayed it can be given verbally on request by the customer.

What must food businesses do?

Food service businesses and retailers selling loose foods must start preparing now.

The following steps should be taken:

Review all of your product specifications, ingredients and recipes for any of the 14 allergens:
  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Soya
  • Sesame
  • Celery and celeriac
  • Mustard
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphides
  • Seek information from your suppliers in writing as to the ingredients in their products.
  • Prepare individual dish specification cards which clearly identify any allergens.
  • Review menu layouts and remove any generic claims about allergens such as “may contain nuts”.
  • Consider how best to present the information to your customers.
  • Train all staff to understand the importance of allergen management and where they can find the information to relay to customers e.g. the dish specification card.
  • Review kitchen processes so as to identify routes of cross contamination.

Specific guidance on how to comply with the Regulations has yet to be issued but initiating a review as above is a good place to start.
In particular, review the kitchen processes and ensure that there are no routes of cross contamination of allergens to otherwise non-contaminated products. Consider as well, whether any cooking aids e.g. oil could also contaminate the product e.g. groundnut cooking oil will contaminate all products and put nut allergy sufferers at risk, walnut oil in salad dressings could pose a significant risk to nut allergy sufferers.


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